You’ve seen them at Thanksgiving, and on Christmas.
But on Thursday, April 21, the fireworks will really start to fly when the Tomlinsons and the Fenwicks get together for a Fourth of July wedding and the third and final installment of local playwright Bob Davis’ trilogy, with “An Affair to Forget.”
“It’s a wedding with a twist at the end,” said Davis, noting the Murphy’s Law luster sparked when the trilogy’s two protagonists’ families get together. “Whatever can go wrong goes wrong.”
“It’s the dysfunctional family antics going on,” added director Veronica Bona. “When I first got the script, by the fourth line I was already laughing so hard I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to direct. It’s just absolutely hilarious.”
While the story is set to take place at the Tomlinson’s ritzy Hampstead, R.I., estate on one of the hottest days of the year, audience members are being cordially invited to witness the nutty nuptials by way of the intimate stage at Dickens Parlour Theatre.
Both Davis and Bona are hoping that the unique venue will have theatergoers feeling like they’re actually part of the ceremony, which will feature some conflict-spurring Swedish customs amongst all the vindictive matriarchy and secret romance.
“It’s a small theater, and it’s so close to the stage, it just kind of makes everyone feel like they’re a part of it,” Bona explained. “Now that we’ve got a wedding, the wedding guests are going to be sitting out in the audience. That’s what we want — we want them to have a good time and laugh.”
“These are actually real Swedish traditions,” added Davis. “They are wacko. But it’s really what they do.”
The comedy production is the latest from Davis and the Bethany Area Repertory Theatre (BART), and the directorial debut for Bona, following the group’s record-shattering attendance and financial success for performances of “A Tiny Little Secret” in February.
A seasoned BART veteran, Bona has gone from running the lights to running the show, with experience ranging from stagecraft all the way to acting. While she’s only been acting for three years, she’s by no means a stranger to the stage.
“My mother had a dance school all my life, so I was teaching and we did recitals,” she said of her early experience in the arts. “Acting was just something that I always wanted to do, always. Three years ago, I auditioned. Somebody told me about a play down here. It was the first of the trilogy.”
Like many involved with BART, Bona rose through the ranks until she was ready to take the next step, approaching Davis one day and letting him know that she was ready for the director’s chair.
“I looked at him and I said, ‘You can ask me to direct a play,’” she recalled. “I’ve done everything. I’ve done the back of the stage. I’ve done the sound booth and the lighting. Directing is a new experience. It’s scary, but it’s exciting all at the same time. It’s a lot of fun.”
While the new venture has, of course, presented its fair share of challenges, Bona said things have been made easier thanks to assistant director Rusty Hesse — another BART vet with more than 50 shows’ worth of experience in the theater mecca of New York City.
Other BART returners include Ruthie Paramore as Aunt Agnes, Mike Mall as Uncle Charlie, Emily Abbott as Festiva the maid, and fresh off her own directional debut in “A Tiny Little Secret,” Oksana Farber as Mrs. Fenwick.
Tickets are on sale now at www.dptmagic.com, with six chances to watch, from Thursday, April 21, through Saturday, April 30. However, with the growing popularity of the local theater, those RSVP’ing to the wedding are being advised to get their tickets early, due to the chance that the show would sell out.
“We’re getting good support from the community,” Davis said of BART’s momentum. “The word is out.”
For more information on the show, visit www.dptmagic.com or call Dickens Parlour Theatre at (302) 829-1071. The theatre is located at 35715 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) in Millville. For more on BART, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/